Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Andy Rooney and Prayer

National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and Atheist

A friend of mine and author (Steve Newman-The Night Eagles Soared) posted this writing by Andy Rooney and it caught my attention.  I did a little research on the passage and some other related topics and though it might be of interest to share and expand on it.

This particular writing has been circulating for several years and a longer version was originally written by in 1999 by a Texas sports writer named Nick Gholson. From there it circulated and was read by long time Radio commentator Paul Harvey (… the rest of the story) and later Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes. The original writing had a few other beginning paragraphs, but the shorter version that has made its way to Paul Harvey and Andy Rooney opens like this:
 
Take this prayer deal. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Some atheist goes to a high school football game, hears a kid say a short prayer before the game and gets offended. So he hires a lawyer and goes to court and asks somebody to pay him a whole bunch of money for all the damage done to him. You would have thought the kid kicked him in the crotch. Damaged for life by a 30-second prayer? Am I missing something here?

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution.


Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.

So what's the big deal?

It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

"But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue.

Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect — somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer.

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit.

When in Rome ...

"But what about the atheists?" is another argument.

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do.

I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating; to pray before we go to sleep.

Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well ... just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we let that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard ... that the vast majority don't care what they want. It is time the majority rules! It's time we tell them, you don't have to pray; you don't have to say the pledge of allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right. But by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back ... and we WILL WIN!

God bless us one and all ... especially those who denounce Him. God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all.

God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

May 2005 be the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions.

Keep looking up .


Now as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.  Are we wrong if we agree with the “Andy Rooney and Prayer” piece?  Absolutely not!  And is there a group of individuals who have been working actively and in some cases successful at removing prayer, the pledge of allegiance and Christmas trees? Yes there are, but they are successful not because of laws, but because of political, judicial and the appointed having fear of offending, and sometimes our own doing by simply going overboard and getting too oppressive in religious practices.   

By overboard, we’re talking about groups like the Texas group that goes around to military funerals protesting, or other religious groups and individuals who do not recognize separation of church and state and believe that state law and policy should be same as the Christian churches, which is a very similar view and approach to what we would say and believe fanatical Muslims want.  It’s amazing that if an individual stands on the sidewalk or on a street and starts ranting and yelling at everyone going into a building you would be arrested, and yet if a group does the same thing and says they are a religious group, it becomes free speech, and this seems to apply to any religious group.   

Salem Witch Hunts
Remember the first colonist, the Puritans, who came to the new world for freedom of religion, only themselves to deny it to others.  The saying “You’re your own worst enemy” is probably very appropriate for us with regard to prayer and separate of church and state. We want separation of church and state, and the freedom to have a moment of silence or say a prayer, or the pledge of allegiance, but then are sometimes guilty of taking it too far and turn into the exact thing we’re supposed to be against, professing to want freedom of religion, as long as the religion is Christian. 
 
The pledge of allegiance (see Red Skelton video) is an interesting and good example of how we took something and went a step too far.  Did you know that the original Pledge of Allegiance did not have “Under God” in it?  Congress added the under God to it in 1954 during the McCarthy Communism scare era. 
 

The original Pledge of Allegiance:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


Now, if the original Pledge of Allegiance had been left alone, we would not have had the issues with it today in schools, after all, the pledge was and is a pledge of allegiance to the United States of American.  If we enforced our laws instead of ignoring them when a group claims freedom of speech or an individual claims they are offended, we would not have an issue. The Prime Minister of Australia recently made a statement concerning the culture of the country, and implied that if individuals did not like it or agreed with it, they could leave.(link to Aussie PM Speech)

The United States has been and is a melting pot of cultures and religions with laws designed to protect the freedom of cultures and religion. It was not the intent nor should it be the intent that one group, be it Atheist, ACLU or other, to systematically or through fear and intimidation cause the limiting of the freedoms and rights of citizens to appease the feelings of others.  

 It’s not about feelings, it’s about Freedom.


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